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McIvor, Arthur. "Economic Violence, Occupational Disability, and Death: Oral Narratives of the Impact of Asbestos-Related Diseases in Britain." In Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence, 257-84. Vancouver: UBC Press, edited by Steven High, 2015.


This chapter discusses the stories of some workers in the UK who were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma contracted as a result of the conditions of their workplace. McIvor looks at the physical and emotional impact of this situation on the workers, their families, and greater communities. He also examines advocacy groups such as Clydeside Action on Asbestos in Glasgow that emerged as a result of this horrendous situation, and which have helped to create “the most progressive compensation system in the world regarding asbestos-related diseases.” The chapter unpacks the idea of “economic violence” against workers in the corporate capitalist environment, and claims that “The collective intentional exercise and abuse of power by corporations, employers, and managers for economic gain” is the fundamental cause of the workers’ ailments. The collaborative oral interviews that were conducted allowed the workers to “construct their identities” and articulate that they and their communities wanted justice for and reconciliation with their employers.

Shannon Leggett